Our campaign is currently under way, and we thought it may be a good way to update our readers and inform them in a more in-depth way of our reasons for choosing certain things in our project! One of those choices that we had to make was to print locally or to print off-shore. This decision wasn’t made lightly, as of course it reflects itself in the price and cost of our publication, which we want to keep as affordable as possible.
So if it would have made the publication cheaper, and more affordable, why did we choose to print locally, instead of out-sourcing or off-shoring our printing production?
The main reason to out-source is to lower the costs of a major function of the business. Other reasons include: avoiding higher taxes, government regulations, production and labour costs, which are definitely higher in developed countries, and simply when resources aren’t available.
In this regard, we are out-sourcing. We simply don’t have the financial resources and the skills available to create and run our own printing press, while also creating this publication from the ground up. If we could do so, we’d enjoy delving into that process and being more involved in it. However we do want to put all the resources we do have, including our time, into working with the artists and on the design of the publication. Out-sourcing our printing production to a local printer (here in Montreal) allows us to do just that, while also allowing us to stay involved in the process, since we can easily stay up-to-date on the mock-ups, proofs, and the final product. These reasons alone would be enough to justify going with a local printer – we just wouldn’t be able to oversee the process in the same way, and have the same flexibility and personal contact with an off-shore printer.
We did ask ourselves though, if these reasons would be enough to justify the higher costs that the publication would then incur, which would have to be “picked up” by the reader. This could definitely be argued – we could probably still create a great publication if we were to off-shore the printing production, probably reducing the printing tenfold.
And that’s where the more significant reasons are also important to us, which include two of the following:
1) We want to support our local economy. There is much debate over whether off-shoring helps or hurts the economy on a whole. Most studies do show, that in conclusion, it hurts the economy in some level, for instance higher living standards and inflation. (Some interesting, although long, reads: Truth and Consequences of Off-Shoring and The Real Cost of Off-Shoring)
Something that isn’t up for debate though, is that small businesses are important and help the local economy. In this article, it shows how they “help stimulate economic growth by providing employment opportunities”, as well as how large businesses depend on smaller ones to an extent, when it comes to outsourcing certain functions, like printing in our case. (Also read this article.) So, if we were to off-shore our printing production, there would be a small gap in the local economy, which may seem insignificant at first, but the more small businesses do this, the larger the gap becomes, which in turn creates many of the problems we see today in North American economies…
2) We want fair pay and prices. It’s quite well-known that many of our products today, such as computer and technological items, as well as clothing, aren’t made on a local level, but rather are made in countries where the labour is cheap. The consumer benefits from these practices, as the items become very affordable, while it’s no secret that many people suffer because of our consumerism.
We’ve become so accustomed to these cheaper prices, that locally made items often seem ridiculously high in price. But maybe it’s worth it to adjust our attitudes slightly – if we were to buy a local piece of clothing (made in Canada, USA, or the UK for example) it would probably be of better quality and last us longer than that of a department store. Another good example is that of food. It’s quite well known that supporting local farmers and farmers markets may cost us more, but we won’t be subject to many of the negative side-effects of industrially produced items. (A good, simple read: here.) In both cases, it takes some forethought and planning, and maybe even just consuming less, as our dollars can only stretch so far.
All that being said, our publication hopes to make a difference in how artists are paid fairly. That’s our main goal. But this goal comes along with changing people’s views on the value of art and fair pricing. In our case, it may seem that the fair price of an ad-free print publications seems to be rather shocking, as we’re used to paying a lot less. We are however trying to create something that is more similar to a book – something to be treasured and kept on your shelves, something that won’t go obsolete or lost, like an online article, which is our main reason for choosing a printed publication, even though this may come at a higher cost.
We understand that we’re putting a lot of the expense on to our readers, which is unfortunate, and we know that not everyone can afford it. We will always try to keep our publication as affordable as possible, while still giving a large amount back to the artists. It ends up coming down to a numbers game; if we have more people pre-ordering and purchasing our publication, the costs can be driven down that way, since printing costs will go down with larger orders. We’re also keeping this as a quarterly publication, so if you were to divide each issue by 3 (the amount of months inbetween issues), that would be the cost of a monthly magazine you may pick up in your local newsstand or store. Think about it, if you give up a couple coffees, or purchased lunches, each month, you’d have enough to support the magazine!
It’s really up to you, and sharing with your friends! We can all make a difference in this, and not only for the artists, but on a grander scale than you may even realize.